Toledo Blade – Sep 5, 1993
ANKARA (AP) – Prime Minister Tansu Ciller will ask parliament to wage war if Armenia attacks Nakhichevan, an Azerbaijani enclave on the Turkish border, a newspaper reported yesterday.
The army, meanwhile, said it was drawing up contingency plans,
The tide of the 5-year-old war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, two former Soviet republics, has turned against the Azerbaijanis over the past year. Christian Armenian forces have routed Muslim Azerbaijani troops and taken control of the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan and several surrounding Azerbaijani towns.
Late Friday, Armenian forces captured another Azerbaijani town, Goradiz, a few miles from Iran, despite a truce and warnings from Turkey and Iran. Azerbaijani Defense Ministry officials said yesterday. The Armenians have denied breaking the cease-fire, hammered out last week.
Turkey, a secular Muslim nation, sympathizes with Turkic-speaking Azerbaijan, but has been wary of risking confrontation with Russia through unilateral military inter* vention. Tehran fears the conflict will spread across its northern border to its own large Azerbaijani population and minority Armenians.
Turkey has put its troops on alert along its northeast border with Armenia, and Iran, Turkey’s neighbor to the east, has sent forces to its northern border with Azerbaijan to check further Armenian advances.
“If one spot of Nakhichevan is touched, I go to the parliament and obtain authorization for war.” Ms. Ciller said in an interview with the Istanbul newspaper Hurriyet.
The prime minister said she would discuss the crisis with Russian officials during her trip to Moscow next week.
The war has killed about 15,000 people.